Amplified Festival 2018
Yet again this years Amplified Festival is one of extreme weather. While 2017 will be remembered for the torrential rain and biblical downpour that almost halted the event this year it was the extreme heat that took its toll on the festival goers, with the hottest July weekend on record aptly renaming the fest as ‘Amplifried’. Despite the searing heat however the mood amongst those attending can at best be described as exuberant, with every night finishing with a glorious party atmosphere that has now come to typify Amplified’s loyal fan base. They say if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all, and there’s plenty of people with nice things to say this year that’s for sure!
If you like your metal festivals professional and accessible but to also seem like you are having a weekend sleepover or giant metal garden party with a bunch of your best friends even if you hadn’t even met them yet; within beautiful scenery where even the toilets are still so clean on day three pf the event – then Amplified is for you! With a crazy after show party each night that had people merrily dancing on the bars whilst they kept the Jägermeister and Motörhead beer flowing, to the delicious and varied food stands around the arena serving a vast menu each day. To the awesome crew at the popular Motley Brew tent who, in their tenth year of trading, were busy all weekend rehydrating the tea and coffee worshippers who were all enjoying their beverage in actual ceramic mugs, not plastic ones, adding that feeling of a home away from home. This review really wouldn’t be complete without giving a shout out and our sincerest thank you to the ace guys over at the Cloven Hoof tent who kept us and the majority of Amplified attendees in copious amounts of glorious rum and rum related cocktails all weekend, it truly is a delicious beverage that you need to taste! So onto the bands…..
The Best Of The Festival
With a festival of this quality the hardest part is to pick ‘favourites’. Every band was as equally enthusiastic, entertaining and each putting on a great unique show. But even given the overall quality of the line-up there were still some stand out moments.
They’re All Talking About Torqued
When you get a text message asking “who’s playing? They sound amazing!” from the Editor who is back at the campsite setting up for an interview then you have to take notice. The band was Torqued, who were the second band to play on the main stage on the Friday. And yes, they were amazing. Heavy brutal riffs were just what were needed early in the day and they set the monstrous tone for the rest of the weekend. Not even the noon sun could stop this juggernaut of a band from playing their hearts out. Check out their new EP, Resurgence, when you get a chance, well worth a listen!
G’s Bar’s Tent Shockers
Saturday night’s G’s Bar headliner was an absolute no brainer for a top 5 spot. The Japanese punk band Electric Eel Shock certainly put a spark into the proceedings with their high energy performance. It’s a classic 3 piece line-up, with a classic punk sound, that gets the bar dancing away until midnight. Thankfully the tent has cooled down from the muggy heat of the afternoon, but it’s clearly still too hot for the drummer as he gets to work in his birthday suit. No one cares if half the songs are in Japanese or in English as they’re too busy having the time of their lives, just like the band were.
Smoking In The Boys’ Room
It’s clearly too early in the day to get the best visually from Sulpher’s stage show, as they seem to use up the festival’s entire supply of fake smoke during their set. With a pedigree that covers Gary Numan to the Cocteau Twins the joint experience of Rob Holliday and Monti shows as they play through a dark, raw and deliciously moody set. It may have been over a decade since Sulpher last played together as a band properly but the hiatus hasn’t dented the relationship between the duo or the musical ability and it certainly shows on stage as everything looks and sounds so tight. Rob commands the crowd effortlessly and the band confidently work their way through a mix of old favourites and current unreleased material aired here at Amplified which will be released at the end of August in the form of the highly anticipated ‘No One Will Ever Know’ while Andy and Davey frantically spiral around their instruments. A saying springs to mind during the set ‘It’s not the size of the crowd, it’s the heart of the crowd’ and that’s here in abundance. It has absolutely been well worth the wait and the new record is a beast so make sure you re-join the Sulpher Revolution!
Not Evil Scarecrow?
Yes, you heard right, Evil Scarecrow narrowly miss out on the top 5. Not even the addition of pyrotechnics and a set that sees Dr Hell playing the crowd like a puppet master can knock veterans Therapy? from their spot in the top 5. Therapy? put on a fantastic and flawless set covering their extensive back catalogue. Andy Cairns is as always a gracious host always giving the nod and respect to the organisers, the bands on the bill that have played before them, and the crowd. It is a grand sing along from start to finish closing with the classic ‘Screamager’ which of course gets the entire crowd singing and dancing into frenzy to end what has been a sublime weekend. There’s still time for one more band in G’s Bar, but for many their festival ends here, on yet another high note.
Everyone agrees, it has to be Jinjer
This is the show that nearly didn’t happen. Less than 24 hours before they were due to hit the stage Jinjer were still stuck at Kiev airport, frustratingly waiting for their Visas to be granted. Two shows had already been cancelled, and it wasn’t until the Saturday morning that word came, Jinjer were in England at last! With all that pent-up energy from the missed shows this was furiously unleashed onto the crowd at Amplified, who welcomed it with open arms. Not even England’s World Cup win against Sweden was going to stop this show from going on and they certainly made the most of their time to blow away everyone in attendance. Jinjer had one of the biggest mosh pits of the weekend, overseen and commanded by the brutal and beautiful Tatiana Shmailyuk. Roman, Eugene, and Vladislav are the perfect accompaniment, creating organised chaos that rings out beautifully across Gloucestershire’s Quarry. Jinjer are an absolute belter of a band who deserves to go on and have every success bestowed upon them.
Next Event: 19–21 JULY 2019 @ QUARRYDOWNS, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
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Review By Nickie Hobbs & Mark Bestford
All Photos C/O Alienation Photography – https://www.facebook.com/Alien8n/
(All Photos C/O Alienation Photography – Please Do Not Use without Permission)